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Smith’s translation. 21 Cicero, De natura deorum, I, 44. 22 We can partly solve this problem if we assume (for example with Goldschmidt 1978, 157-158), that preconception results, in any case, from a material and external event: the fact that images enter the body through his pores. In the case of gods, it seems that the ıՀİȧȝį act directly on the mind (see in this sense Modrak 2006, 655). ” In other words: there is a signifier of x, if and only if there is a preconception of x. ” Thus, it is perhaps not true that what appears to me at a distance is a horse; perhaps it is a cow; but if I am thinking of a horse, then it consists in spontaneously representing to myself, at the moment of the perception, a correct preconception of what a horse is.

53 Without entering into detail concerning these two positions, we should at least ask whether these two points of view—the traditional idea of preconception as a representation, and the idea of preconception as a movement of thought—are really incompatible. Nothing prevents us from considering preconception as a way of making use of stabilized traces of past sensations, that is, a way of actualizing or re-actualizing a memory in accordance with a specific situation. We can further suppose that prolêpsis is structured like sensation, which contains at the same time a purely passive affect, the effect of an impression coming from outside, and an active focusing (ԚʍțȖȡȝս) on this affect.

This reply touches simultaneously upon both the nature and the function of prolêpsis. We may note first of all (text [1]) that it is that in virtue of which an outline (ijփʍȡȣ) presents itself to us, whether of a man, a horse, or a cow. One point here is not very clear: we may be tempted to assimilate prolêpsis to an outline, to the degree that there is not a doubling of the image—the preconception and then the outline—but a single image. Nevertheless, the _________ 52 “una nozione già formata,” p.

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